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Mulayam woos youth with laptops, farmers with soft loans

Last updated on: January 20, 2012 19:31 IST

Other than promising several sops to Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav also declared that he would set up a high-level commission to investigate "financial irregularities" by the Mayawati government. Sharat Pradhan reports.

Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav might have traditionally been opposed to everything modern, including English, computers and laptops, but he has realised the need to tap the young voter in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. The one-time rustic wrestler–turned-political strongman of India's most populous state was out to woo youngsters whom he promised laptops and tablets in his party's election manifesto released in Lucknow on Friday.

Apart from promising sops like higher job quota to Muslims, Mulayam Singh Yadav also went to the extent of assuring the release of Muslim youngsters pulled up for suspected indulgence in acts of terrorism. He has also assured implementation of recommendations of the Sachchar Committee and Rang Nath Misra Commission for the larger good of Muslims.

Mulayam Singh Yadav has also declared that he would set up a high-level commission of inquiry to go into the alleged "financial irregularities" committed by the Mayawati government.

"All class XII passed students will be given laptops while those clearing their Class X will get tablets if our party comes to power in Uttar Pradesh," Mulayam told a press conference while releasing the manifesto at the SP state headquarters.

Not only was he prepared to offer free education in schools, but even professional education -- engineering and medicine -- without any fees to students with annual family income of less than Rs 5 lakh.

"While books would be given free to all students up to Class VIII, girls will be entitled to free education up to Bachelor of Arts degree," he added.

Mulayam also did not make any bones about his intent to tap the Muslim vote, which is very crucial in determining the political destiny of the state. "We will give higher reservation to Muslims in all government jobs so that it is proportionate to their population," he said, while adding, "There was need to use the same yardstick for Muslim quota as it is applied in case of dalits."

He has also promised free power supply to weavers, who were mostly Muslims.

"We will provide assured power supply for 22 hours in all urban areas and 20 hours in rural areas of the state," declared Mulayam.

To woo the farmers of the state, the Samajwadi Party also proposed to completely do away with acquisition of cultivable land. "Only non-cultivable land would be acquired for public purposes and that too by paying the farmer six times of the official circle rate of land," said the SP president. "The government will not have any role to play in acquisition of land for development by private players," he added.

While declaring soft loan to farmers at an interest rate of 4 per cent, he has also assured a ban on auction of farmers' land in case of default. "We will also provide 50 per cent of premium toward crop insurance and pension to all farmers above the age of 65 years," he added.

Among his other promises were "two sarees to women living below the poverty line, replacement of cycle rickshaws by motorised ones, free treatment to all in government hospitals and free shops to all cobblers".

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow